Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympic Windsurfing. . . one sailor, two teams

Since sailing is a sport that gets relatively little coverage in the Olympics, I thought that covering the RS:X windsurfing event would shed some light on what actually happens during the regatta. The sailing event is almost certainly the longest event of any sport, and is scheduled from 9-21 August. The RS:X event begins on the 11th. I’ll be covering both the American and Polish sailors, the latter of which have an excellent chance of medaling.

Why cover the Polish team as well as the Americans? First of all, I’m living here in Poland and training with their team. I feel like I am a part of what they are doing, and when I sail with them, in my head I’m no different than any 18-year-old Polish kid learning how to race well. Secondly, it is an interesting comparison of two countries with two completely different windsurfing programs. The fact that both Polish sailors have a great chance of medaling is a testament to the effect of years of involvement with a great youth windsurfing development program. The men’s representative, who is 29 years old, started sailing and racing when he was 10. Check out a brief synopsis of Poland’s chances for medaling.

During the Olympics I will be competing in the Raceboard European Championships, held here in Sopot. I will be using a Bic Techno 293 hybrid board for a little crosstraining! More updates on this regatta will follow (and some pictures, finally!).

For more coverage of all the Olympic sailing classes, check out the following. ISAF is covering the event really well, and you can see all the classes which have already started racing. Also, if you haven’t discovered it already, NBC has some video of the sailing and you can also search for coverage of different sports. If you can read Polish, check out the Polish team’s website for daily updates and a few nice pictures. Their representatives are Zofia Klepacka and Przemyslaw "Pont" Miarczynski. Our representatives from the USA are Ben Barger and Nancy Rios, who both have blogs. US Sailing is also covering the American side of the event.

So far Qingdao conditions have been status quo: smoggy with no wind. It should be interesting and tricky racing. My regatta too, will be interesting in the normal crazy Sopot offshore conditions. I’ve got to cut this short because it’s late and I’m racing tomorrow, but stay tuned for more updates!

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